Razzle Dazzle Ladies: The Ladies at the U.S> Figure Skating Championships, Xcel Energy Center Saint Paul Minnesota
All Photos of the Figure Skaters by David Paul
This past weekend, beginning last Friday, I had the pleasure of attending the 2016 U.S. Figure Skating Championships--the U.S. Nationals of Figure Skating--in Saint Paul Minnesota. As you may know (if you read my BLOG here), I am a big fan of figure skating and especially commenting on figure skating costumes. I was scheduled to fly to Minnesota to do my NV Nick Verreos line on the EVINE Live TV Shopping Network (which is headquartered in Minnesota), so when my partner David Paul and I realized that this would be during the same time as the U.S. Nationals...well: Done & Done! We bought tickets to all the competitions during the weekend and boy, were we happy we did! The Championships were very exciting this year with lots of surprising results. Now, naturally, I'm here to discuss my favorite subject: THE COSTUMES!! So, up first: The Ladies...
Gracie Gold: Gracie skated her winning Free Skate to The Firebird by Stravinsky in this fire red costume. Even though the costume wasn't as "exuberant" as, say, what Anna Pogorilaya wore when she skate to the same music, I still liked this costume. The look featured a red asymmetrical hemline, sequins and feathers at the bust and "arm gloves" and an interesting sequined vertical back detail. It was a subdued, elegant Firebird.
Polina Edmunds: Polina skated her Free Skate to Gone With The Wind: Film Soundtrack by Max Steiner wearing this costume giving a slight nod to the Scarlett O'Hara costume. The emerald green bow detail adds a nice pop of color to the almost-entirely ivory costume. I especially liked the fluttery sleeve details as well as fluttery skirt. I get that Polina is young and her costumes usually reflect this but I would love to see a bit more "maturity" and refinement to her costumes; they're always two seconds from being almost too "Disney" safe.
Ashley Wagner: Ashley skated her Free Skate to Moulin Rouge: Film Soundtrack in this costume above. I almost always love all of Ashley's costumes. There's always a feeling that someone in her costume designing glam squad is reading Vogue magazine and there are elements of high fashion and a certain "skating couture" aspect. I love the gold leaf sequin work in her torso and how similar it is to the costume worn by Nicole Kidman:
Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge
Mirai Nagasu: Mirai skated her Free Program to The Great Gatsby: Film Soundtrack wearing this costume which I ABSOLUTELY LOVE! It's chic, expensive looking and has the look of Haute Couture 1920's flapper chic, in keeping with the film's costumes. The beading work on the top section looks extraordinary. And I admire the "mini" flapper fringes at the hem of the skirt. I also liked her sequined headband since this was very period-right. I almost think with all that going on, it might not have been necessary to add those sequined cuffs. But overall: Costume fabulous!
Tyler Pierce: Tyler performed her Free Skate to Danse Macabre by Saint-Saens in this costume above. The look featured a midnight blue-shaded ensemble with violet-grey sequined illusion. I liked the dark coloring since this definitely mirrored the Danse Macabre music and I especially thought the jagged/pointy edges of the torso detail added visual interest.
Bradie Tennell: Bradie skated her Free Program to Tango in Ebony by Maksim Mrvica. Naturally for a Tango-themed skate, one would expect a red colored costume as seen above. The addition of amethyst-colored sequins added some depth and visual texture to the crimson-red color base. The look featured a scooped neckline with "plunging" front, long sleeves and split-skirt. I thought this was nice; nothing extraordinary but adequate for the music.
Hannah Miller: Hannah skated her Free Program to Prelude La Boheme Act One & Non piangere, Liu (from Turandot) by Giacomo Puccini; Il Pristine (from The Postman film soundtrack); Vissi d'arte (from Tosca) by Puccini) in this blush colored sequined costume above. I really liked this costume and was a bit surprised at how refined and expensive-looking it was. This was a "Top Tier" skater costume for sure. If I had to pick a favorite part of this costume, it would be the front neckline sequin work which looked as if she was wearing layers upon layers of very expensive diamond and jeweled necklaces. Gorgeous.
The back (as well as front) detail reminded of a gown designed by Venezuelan designer Gionni Straccia worn by Miss Venezuela 2009 Marelisa Gibson when she won her crown (above)
Karen Chen: Karen performed her Free Skate to Les Miserables medley by Claude-Michel Schonberg in this costume. Not really sure what this black and silver gray sequined costume has to do with Les Miserables but I thought it was pretty and impacting. I can see a "hint" of Les Mis in the "lacing" down the front of the costume (maybe a nod to the period costumes of that time?) but overall, this costume might be best suited for a more "razzle dazzle" musical accompaniment like "Chicago".
Courtney Hicks: Courtney skated her Free Skate to Elizabeth: The Golden Age Film Soundtrack in this ocean blue costume above. The look featured gold sequin work that emphasized the torso and gave a look of an Elizabethan corset. I also notice the front scoop which mimics the same hemline of those period tops, as well as double layer of chiffon at the skirt which gives me a hint of the paniers of those times (sans the crinoline and boned petticoats). Overall, Courtney did look quite regal in this especially with the mini tiara and diamante "necklace".
Mariah Bell: Mariah skated her Free Skate to Born on the Fourth of July film soundtrack. I have to admit that when Mariah came out and I saw this "American Flag"-inspired costume, I expected to hear John Philip Sousa's "Stars and Stripes Forever" as her music, she would take a baton from the audience and start twirling it...but alas, no John Philip Sousa and no baton (insert sad face). But even though it was such an overt "Americana" homage, the costume designer still managed to make the design quite fashion-forward and innovative with the open back and one-sleeve detail.
Ashley Cain: Ashley performed her Free Skate to Bolero for violin & orchestra, performed by Vanessa-Mae in this deep lilac colored costume. the look was both sultry, slighty exotic and had Near East influences, albeit a bit "Disney Princess"-like. The halter neckline was quite pretty and back crystal sequin detail very red carpet-worthy. The thin sequined headband (a big trend for the ladies in Figure Skating), was a nice touch and I get that it added that "exotic" detail.
Christina Cleveland: Christina skated her Free Skate to Harem performed by Sarah Brightman in this overtly exotic sequined costume. This look very much mirrors the Harem music and I was surprised to see such an intricately designed costume on an American figure skater; I expect this more from the Russian ladies skater, although it did remind me of Michelle Kwan's 1996 Salome costume. I liked it for its intense no-holds barred costume punch.
**NEXT UP: THE MEN...Costume Highlights from the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships!!!